An unkind season permitted Cardinals first baseman Lance Berkman only 81 at-bats while demanding two knee surgeries and the rehab and uncertainty that accompany physical problems for a 36-year-old athlete.

Berkman fondly remembers what two years in St. Louis brought him, most notably being part of a world championship team for the first time. Now he must decide where those years leave him.

Berkman took a red-eye flight to Houston the same night the San Francisco Giants eliminated the Cardinals in the unsightly Game 7 of the National League championship series. He had watched the postseason from the team's dugout while attempting a long-shot rehab of his right knee in time to be activated for the World Series.

With his team and his knee unable to get there, Berkman's next task is waiting.

Berkman said Friday he's "not real sure" about whether he will retire or pursue a short-term contract with a contending club. More than a month ago he admitted to be leaning toward retirement. Berkman says he will likely file for free agency following the World Series but has no idea what takes place after that.

"I think it would behoove me to at least listen if there is an offer out there," he said. "But honestly I don't know what is going to happen or what's going to be my thought process."

Berkman says his knees feel as bad now as at the end of a difficult 2010 season that included his July trade from the Houston Astros to the New York Yankees. Berkman, who had endured knee surgery that March, hobbled through the season before engaging in an aggressive conditioning program and signing a one-year, $10 million deal with the Cardinals.